Rishabha, aka: Ṛṣabha, Ṛṣabhā; 19 Definition(s)
Rishabha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
The Sanskrit terms Ṛṣabha and Ṛṣabhā can be transliterated into English as Rsabha or Rishabha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ).—The son of Nābhi (by Merudevī), who was a son of Medhātithi, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 74. Medhātithi was a son of Priyavrata, who was a son of Svāyambhuva Manu, who was created by Brahmā, who was in turn created by Nārāyaṇa, the unknowable all-pervasive primordial being. Ṛṣabha had a son named Bharata to whom he gave the region called Bhārata (which lies south of Hemādri).(Source): Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ):—Son of Kuśāgra (son of Bṛhadratha, who was one of the sons of Uparicara Vasu). He had son named Satyahita. (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.22.7)(Source): Wisdom Library: Bhagavata Purana
Ṛṣabha: According to the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa he was a king of Śviknas and had performed an aśvamedha. He is also mentioned there as having probably been the source of a saying of gauravītiśāktyas. He is probably identical with the mantrakṛt Ṛṣabha of the Vāyu-purāṇa. But whether he can be identified with any of the Ṛṣabhas mentioned in the Purāṇic tradition is a moot point.(Source): Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna
1) Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ).—A King of the Lunar dynasty. He was the great grandson of Uparicaravasu.
Mahābhārata, Droṇa Parva, Chapter 20, Verse 12 says that he fought within the Garuḍavyūha formed by Droṇa. (See full article at Story of Ṛṣabha from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)
2) Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ).—A muni (sage) who was the grandson of King Agnīdhra. General information.
3) Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ).—A Nāga born in the Dhṛtarāṣṭra family. In Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, Chapter 57, Verse 11, we read that this nāga was burnt to ashes at Janamejaya’s Sarpasatra. (Snake sacrifice).
4) Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ).—An Asura. (Mahābhārata Śānti Parva, Chapter 227, Verse 51).(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia
1a) Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ).—A sage about whose welfare Arjuna is asked by Yudhiṣṭhira.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 14. 31.
1b) A follower of Vṛtra in his battle with Indra.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 10. 19.
1c) A son of Indra and Paulomī.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 18. 7.
1d) A manifestation of Hari in Dakṣasāvarṇi epoch. Born of Āyuṣmat and Ambudhārā; engaged in dhyānamārga.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 13. 20; Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 143, 146.
1e) A son of Kuśāgra, and father of Satyahita.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 22. 6-7. Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 223.
1f) A playmate of Kṛṣṇa.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 22. 31.
1g) Identified with the sun.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 6. 68.
1h) The son of Nābhi and Sudevī (Merudevī according to vi., vā. & br. p.) An avatār of Viṣṇu, eldest of all Kṣatra. A paramahaṃsa. Had a hundred sons of whom Bharata was the eldest.1 Nine of these became rulers of the nine dvīpas of the world. Eightyone of them became addicted to karma tantra, and the remainder nine became sages.2 Indra grew jealous of him and stopped rains in his kingdom Ajanābha. But Ṛṣabha, invoked rains by yogic powers.3 As king, married Jayantī, bestowed on him by Indra, who gave birth to 100 sons. Under Ṛṣabha, his kingdom flowed with milk and honey. Once he went to control Brahmāvarta and proclaimed the importance of self-control and discipline to his sons and to the world at large. Installed Bharata on the throne, renounced life and became a wandering mendicant. Finding the world opposed to his yoga practice he adopted the vow of a python (ājagara) by which he ate, chewed, drank and passed water all lying down. By his yogic powers he wandered through Koṅka, Veṅka, Kuṭaka, S. Karnāṭa, and was consumed by forestfire. By listening to his story, devotion to Hari was increased. His path was followed by Sumati;4 took to the third āśrama at Pulaha's hermitage and lived there until his death.5
- 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 14. 60-62; Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 7. 10; XI. 4. 17; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 1. 27; Vāyu-purāṇa 33. 50-51.
- 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XI. 2. 15-20.
- 3) Ib. V. 3 (whole); 4. 1-3.
- 4) Ib. V. 4. 8-19; chap. 5 (whole); 6. 6-19; 15. 1; Vāyu-purāṇa 33. 51.
- 5) Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 1. 28-31.
1i) A son of Aṅgiras, and a sage of the Svārociṣa epoch; a mantrakṛt.*
- * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 36. 17; Vāyu-purāṇa 59. 100.
1j) A son of Sudhanvan.*
- * Vāyu-purāṇa 65. 102.
1k) A dānava with manuṣya dharma.*
- * Vāyu-purāṇa 68. 15.
1l) A ṛtvik at Brahmā's yājña.*
- * Vāyu-purāṇa 106. 37.
- 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 16. 26; 19. 16; X. 79. 15; Matsya-purāṇa 163. 78; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 2. 30.
- 2) Matsya-purāṇa 121. 72; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 18. 75.
1n) An elephant at one of the four cardinal points to maintain the balance of the worlds.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 20. 39.
1o) svara (auspicious), when heard by a king starting on an expedition; the second of the seven notes of the Hindu gamut.*
- * Matsya-purāṇa 243. 21; Vāyu-purāṇa 21. 34; 86. 37.
1p) The fifteenth kalpa; here came into being ṛṣabhasvara.*
- * Vāyu-purāṇa 21. 33-34.
1q) Another name for the Sumanā hill of Plakṣadvīpa.*
- * Vāyu-purāṇa 42. 19; 49. 11.
1r) A class of people in Krauñcadvīpa.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 20. 22.
2a) Ṛṣabhā (ऋषभा).—A R. from Vindhya hills.*
- * Matsya-purāṇa 114. 27.
2b) A R. from the Ketumāla country.*
- * Vāyu-purāṇa 44. 19.
The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.
Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ) refers to the second of the seven “musical notes” (svara), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 6, chapter 19 and chapter 28. These seven notes are part of the ‘vocal representation’ (vācika), which is used in communicating the meaning of the drama and calling forth the sentiment (rasa). The seven notes (svara) are to be used in different sentiments (rasa). For example, ṣaḍja and ṛṣabha are to be used in the heroic (vīra) and the furious (raudra) sentiment.
The presiding deity of the ṛṣabha musical note (svara) is defined by various sources:
Nāradīyā-śīkṣā 1.5.13-14 mentions that the ṛṣabha note is sung by Brahmā.
Bṛhaddeśī 75-76 mentions Agni as the presiding deity of ṛṣabha.
Saṅgītaratnākara 1.3.57-58 mentions Brahmā as the presiding deity of ṛṣabha.
Saṃgītamakaranda 1.1.38, Idem.
Cf. Saṃgītarāja 22.214.171.1244.
The following animal sounds are associated with this note:
Nāradīyā-śīkṣā 1.5.3 assigns this note to the moo of the cow (go).
Bṛhaddeśī 64, p13, 2.1-5 assigns this note to the cātaka-bird (cuculus melanoleucus).
Saṃgītamakaranda 1.1.13, Idem.
Saṅgītaratnākara 126.96.36.199, Idem.
Cf. Saṃgītarāja 188.8.131.52.
Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).
Shiksha (linguistics: phonetics, phonology etc.)
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ) refers to the second of six notes (svara) in Indian music.—Because the air, rising from the navel and striking the throat and the head, roars like a bull, it is called ṛṣabha. (Nāradīyā-śikṣā 1. 5.7-11)(Source): Google Books: Dattilam: A Compendium of Ancient Indian Music [shiksha]
Shiksha (शिक्षा, śikṣā) deals with Sanskrit linguistics and represents a branch of vedanga (vedic ancillary science). Shiksha deals with subjects such as phonetics, phonology, study of sound, letters of the Sanskrit alphabet and related topics. Much attention is also given to the study of recitation (patha) of Vedic verses.
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ).—Illustration of the ṛṣabha-svara according to 15th century art.—The colour of the body of ṛṣabha-svara is green. He has a mouth and four hands. He holds lotus flowers in two upper hands and a vīṇā (Indian lute) with the other two hands. His vehicle is a bull. The colour of his scarf is rosy with a red design and the colour of the lower garment is green with a black design.
The illustrations (of, for example Ṛṣabha) are found scattered throughout ancient Jain manuscripts from Gujarat. The descriptions of these illustrations of this citrāvalī are based on the ślokas of Vācanācārya Gaṇi Sudhākalaśa’s Saṅgītopaniṣatsāroddhāra (14th century) and Śārṅgadeva’s Saṅgītaratnākara (13th century).(Source): archive.org: Illustrations of Indian Music and Dance in Western Indian Style
Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.
Itihasa (narrative history)
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.52.16, I.57) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Ṛṣabha) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.(Source): JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).
Katha (narrative stories)
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ) is the name of a mountain and popular gathering place for Vidyādharas, according to the “story of the golden city”, in the to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 26. Accordingly, Candraprabhā (eldest of king Śaśikhaṇḍa’s four daughters) said to Śaktideva: “... but now I am subdued by your wonderful arrival and by your handsome form, and I give myself to you; so I will go on the approaching fourteenth day of the lunar fortnight to the great mountain called Ṛṣabha to entreat my father for your sake, for all the most excellent Vidyādharas assemble there from all quarters on that day to worship the god Śiva, and my father comes there too, and after I have obtained his permission I will return here quickly; then marry me”.
The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Ṛṣabha, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.(Source): Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.
General definition (in Hinduism)
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ, “excellence”):—One of the three sons of Indra and his wife Śacī. Indra is the king of the gods. He is the ruler of the storm and represents the all-pervading electric energy. As a major deity in the Ṛg-veda, he also represents the cause of fertility.(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism
1) The traditional founder of Jainism. He was the first of the twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras or "ford-makers", teachers who established the Jain teachings.
2) There is mention of Rishabha in Hindu scriptures, including the Purana. The Bhagavata Purana states that “The eighth incarnation was King Rishabha, son of King Nabhi and his wife Merudevi. In this incarnation the Lord showed the path of perfection, which is followed by those who have fully controlled their senses and who are honored by all orders of life.” (—Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.13)
3) In the Skanda Purana (chapter 37) it is stated that "Rishabha was the son of Nabhi, and Rishabha had a son named Bharata, and after the name of this Bharata, this country is known as Bharata-varsha."
4) Rishabha also finds mention in Buddhist literature. It speaks of several jaina tirthankara which includes Rishabha along with Padmaprabha, Chandraprabha, Pushpadanta, Vimalnatha, Dharmanatha and Neminatha. A Buddhist scripture named Dharmottarapradipa mentions Rishabha as an Apta (Tirthankara)
5) The Ādi purāṇa, a 10th-century Kannada language text by the poet Adikavi Pampa (fl. 941 CE), written in Champu style, a mix of prose and verse and spread over sixteen cantos, deals with the ten lives of Rishabha and his two sons. The life of Rishabha is also given in Mahapurana of Jinasena.(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism
Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ) is the name of a Buddha under whom Śākyamuni (or Gautama, ‘the historical Buddha’) acquired merit along the first through nine bhūmis, according to the Mahāvastu. There are in total ten bhūmis representing the ten stages of the Bodhisattva’s path towards enlightenment.
Ṛṣabha is but one among the 500 Buddhas enumerated in the Mahāvastu during a conversation between Mahākātyāyana and Mahākāśyapa, both principle disciples of Gautama Buddha. The Mahāvastu is an important text of the Lokottaravāda school of buddhism, dating from the 2nd century BCE.(Source): Wisdom Library: Lokottaravāda
Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.
General definition (in Jainism)
1) Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ):—The first Tīrthaṅkara (Janism recognizes 24 such teachers or Siddhas). He is also known as Ṛṣabhanātha. His colour is gold (kāñcana), according to Aparājitapṛcchā (221.5-7). His height is 500 dhanuṣa (a single dhanuṣa (or, ‘bow’) equals 6 ft), thus, roughly corresponding to 914 meters. His emblem, or symbol, is a Bull.
Ṛṣabha’s father is Nābhi and his mother is Marudevī. It is an ancient Jain practice to worship the Tīrthaṅkara’s parents in various rites, such as the pratiṣṭhāvidhi, according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri).
2) Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ) is the name of a kulakara (law-giver) according to Śvetāmbara sources. The kulakaras (similair to the manus of the Brahmanical tradition) figure as important characters protecting and guiding humanity towards prosperity during ancient times of distress, whenever the kalpavṛkṣa (wishing tree) failed to provide the proper service.
These law-givers (eg., Ṛṣabha) are listed in various Jain sources, such as the Bhagavatīsūtra and Jambūdvīpaprajñapti in Śvetāmbara, or the Tiloyapaṇṇatti and Ādipurāṇa in the Digambara tradition.(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism
Ṛṣabhanātha or Lord Ṛṣabha is the first of the 24 Jinas of the present cycle of time. There are many versions of his name but he is commonly called Ādinātha – First Lord. The name Ṛṣabha means ‘bull’.
The word Jina means 'victor' in Sanskrit. A Jina is an enlightened human being who has triumphed over karma through practising extreme asceticism and teaches the way to achieve liberation. A Jina is also called a Tīrthaṃkara or 'ford-maker' in Sanskrit – that is, one who has founded a community after reaching omniscience.
Ṛṣabha’s symbolic colour is gold and his emblem the ox or bull. Unusually in depictions of Jinas, statues and paintings of Ṛṣabha often show long locks of hair falling on his shoulders that help identify him. Like all Jinas, Ṛṣabha has a pair of spiritual attendants, often shown in art. His yakṣa is Gomukha and his yakṣī is Cakreśvarī.(Source): JAINpedia: Jainism
Rishabha, also known as Adinatha, is the traditional founder of Jainism. He was the first of the twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras or "ford-makers", teachers who established the Jain teachings. According to legends, he belonged to the Ikshvaku dynasty of ancient Ayodhya. His son was believed to be the first chakravartin. Rishabha is also known as Rikhava and is sometimes called Rishabha of Kosala.(Source): WikiPedia: Jainism
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ, “Bull”).—The second of “fourteen dreams” of Triśalā.—The Bull manifested as benign, strong and well built, with fine proportions. His calm attitude would not provoke fear or agitation. He was adorned with symmetrically curved horns.(Source): Shodhganga: A cultural study on the jain western Indian illustrated manuscripts
Rishabhadeva, the first Tirthankara.—Shrutavatara of Indranandi mentions about 14 Kulakaras lived before the date of Rishabhadeva. The 14 th Kulakara, King Nabha was the father of Rishabhadeva. Kalpasutra does not mention about Kulakaras. Kalpasutra tells us that Rishabha was born to King Nabha and Marudevi. King Nabha belonged to Ikshvaku dynasty and ruled over Kosala kingdom.
Most probably, Rishabhadeva was the son of Ikshvaku King Nabhaga, an ancestor of Dasharatha and Rama because later Jain texts tell us that Bharata was the son of Rishabha but Puranas and Valmiki Ramayana mention that Bharata was the son of Dhruvasandhi. In all probability, Rishabhadeva lived in pre-Ramayana period.(Source): academia.edu: The epoch of the Mahavira-nirvana
Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.
Languages of India and abroad
Ṛṣabha (ऋषभ).—[ṛṣ-abhak; Uṇ 3.123]
1) A bull.
2) (With names of other animals) the male animal, as अजर्षभः (ajarṣabhaḥ) a goat.
3) The best or most excellent (as the last member of a comp.); as पुरुषर्षभः, भरतर्षभः (puruṣarṣabhaḥ, bharatarṣabhaḥ) &c.
4) The second of the seven notes of the gamut; (said to be uttered by cows; gāvastvṛṣabhabhāṣiṇaḥ); श्रुतिसमधिकमुच्चैः पञ्चमं पीडयन्तः सततमृषभहीनं भिन्नकीकृत्य षड्जम् (śrutisamadhikamuccaiḥ pañcamaṃ pīḍayantaḥ satatamṛṣabhahīnaṃ bhinnakīkṛtya ṣaḍjam) Śi.11.1; ऋषभोऽत्र गीयत इति (ṛṣabho'tra gīyata iti) Āryā S.141.
5) The hollow of the ear.
6) A boar's tail.
7) A crocodile's tail.
8) A dried plant, one of the 8 principal medicaments. (Mar. bailaghāṭī, kākaḍaśiṃgī)
9) Name of an antidote.
1) An incarnation of Viṣṇu; नाभेरसावृषभ आस सुदेविसूनुः (nābherasāvṛṣabha āsa sudevisūnuḥ) Bhāg. 2.7.1.
11) A sacrifice (to be performed by kings).
-bhāḥ m. The inhabitants of क्रौञ्चद्वीप (krauñcadvīpa); Bhāg.5.2.22.
-bhī 1 A woman with masculine features (as a beard &c.).
2) A cow.
3) A widow.
4) The plant Carpopogon Pruriens (śūkaśiṃbī); also another plant (śirālā) (Mar. kuyalī)
Derivable forms: ṛṣabhaḥ (ऋषभः).(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.
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Search found 33 books and stories containing Rishabha, Ṛṣabha or Ṛṣabhā. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
List of Mahabharata people and places (by Laxman Burdak)
Pāraskara-gṛhya-sūtra (by Pāraskara)
The Natyashastra (by Bharata-muni)
Part 2 - The Ancient Indian Theory and Practice of Music < [Introduction, Part 2]
Middle Chola Temples (by S. R. Balasubrahmanyam)
Temples in Tiru-nallar (Tiru-nallaru) < [Chapter IV - Temples of Rajendra I’s Time]
Temples in Mattottam (Rajarajapuram) < [Chapter II - Temples of Rajaraja I’s Time]
Temples in Tiruvasi < [Aditya I]
The Mahavastu (great story) (by J. J. Jones)